Indian Culture: Indian Painting: Art in Modern Period and Decorative Art

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In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries paintings comprised semi westernised local styles which were patronised by British residents and visitors.

Art in the Modern Period

  • In this period, Themes were generally drawn from Indian social life, popular festivals, and Mughal movements. These reflected the improvised Mughal traditions.

  • Shaikh Zia-ud-Din’s bird studies for Lady Impey and the portrait paintings of Ghulam Ali Khan for William Fraser and Colonel Skinner are the examples of some excellent paintings of this period.

  • In the later nineteenth century art schools on the European model established in major Indian cities like Calcutta, Bombay and Madras.

  • Oil paintings of Raja Ravi Varma of Travancore depicting mythological and social themes became highly popular at this time.

  • Rabindranath Tagore, Abanindranath Tagore, E.B. Havell and Ananda Kehtish Coomaraswamy played an important role in the emergence of the Bengal school of Art.

Calcutta painters

Calcutta Painters

  • In 1943, during the period of the second world war Calcutta painters led by Paritosh Sen, Niroda Majumdar and Pradosh Dasgupta formed a group who depicted the condition of the people of India through new visual language and novel techniques.

  • The Madras School of Art under Debi Prasad Roy Chowdhury and K.C.S. Paniker emerged as an important art centre in post-independence period and influenced a new generation of modern artists.

  • Two government institutions have been set up promote art, music etc in India. The National Gallery of Modern Art has the largest collection of modern art under one roof.

  • The second one is the Lalit Kala Akademi which recognises and patronizes artists in all fields.

Decorative Art

  • The artistic expression of the Indian people is not limited on canvas or Paper only. Decorative painting on walls of homes even in rural areas is a common sight.

  • Rangoli or decorative designs on floor are made for auspicious occasions and pujas whose stylised designs have been passed on from one generation to the other.

  • The designs are called Rangoli in the North, alpana in Bengal, aipan in Uttaranchal, rangavalli in Karnataka, kollam in Tamilnadu and mandana in Madhya Pradesh.

  • Adorning walls of housed and huts is also an old tradition. The following are some of the examples of folk art of this kind.

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